2933. Broadcast News (1987)

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7.2 Starts well, but tails off
  • Acting 7.4
  • Directing 7.2
  • Story 6.9
  • User Ratings (0 Votes) 0

Starring: Holly Hunter, Albert Brooks, William Hurt

Director: James L. Brooks

Running Time: 132 mins


Broadcast News is an American film about an up-and-coming news producer whose rising career creates complications in her personal relationship with two male colleagues.

Despite a sterling cast and an intimate portrayal of changing personal relationships, I must say that I didn’t think all that much of Broadcast News. With such strong focus on the personal lives of its characters, it loses a uniqueness and nuance in its look at the world of newscasting, ultimately ending up as a frustratingly cheesy drama.

At first, the film seems to promise a deep insight into the world of news production, and how the information that we all rely on is brought to our screens. That’s a fascinating central focus, and for the majority of the first act, the film’s detailed insight into news production is enthralling.

From the way that personal relationships influence production to the ability of individuals to change the very news that is reported, I was fascinated by Broadcast News right from the start.

What’s more, the story of Holly Hunter as a rising news producer makes for engaging viewing, as well as her professional conflicts and loyalties with colleagues Albert Brooks and William Hurt.

The problem, however, is that Broadcast News takes a heavy tack towards full-on romantic drama in its second and third acts. Gone is the same engrossing analysis and insight into news production, and instead the film focuses almost entirely on the love triangle between the leads.

And in that, the story takes on a wholly more predictable edge, as well as a frustratingly cheesy atmosphere. It’s certainly an intimate portrayal of the characters’ relationships with one another, but it lacks the engrossing depth of the earlier stages.

In that, Broadcast News really pales in comparison to the likes of Network, which brilliantly intertwined topical analysis with characters and their personal lives. It’s an okay watch, but it’s by no means a gripping or fascinating one all the way through.

The performances from the leads are strong, with Holly Hunter and Albert Brooks in particular standing out, while William Hurt gives a good, albeit far from outstanding performance. Hunter and Brooks’ determination and on-screen energy is the film’s strongest suit, and they do at least bring a degree of passion to what ultimately descends into a frustratingly one-note story.

Overall, I wasn’t entirely won over by Broadcast News. While it starts in excellent shape with a riveting insight into news production, the film changes direction later on with a look towards more generic, predictable and unfortunately uninteresting romantic drama. And with that, it never really delivers the impact or intrigue it aims to, which is why I’m giving it a 7.2.

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About Author

The Mad Movie Man, AKA Anthony Cullen, writes articles and reviews about movies and the world of cinema. Since January 1st, 2013, he has watched and reviewed a movie every day. This is the blog dedicated to the project: www.madmovieman.com